The FMDAC’s Groundhog Day…

Well, the FMDAC finally woke up from its winter’s sleep and made three startling announcements. (1)They are having a get-together in October (what a surprise), (2) they need money (what else is new), and (3) that the prez and vice-prez, would be on the American Digger’s Relic Roundup show, Monday (their yearly public appearance to announce their event and tell everyone they are really alive) .

So after reading this I went to the Relic Roundup archives,  and listened to the show, to see what they had to say. The answer? Nothing. Nothing at all. Just more of the same ole, “we’re having an event”, “too much apathy out there”, “we have day jobs and other obligations”, and “we can’t tackle problems if we don’t know about them”. Thinking maybe they should make these comments part of a FAQ link on their web page…


Not too long into the show, Avery Marder, president of the Task Force, the other national group (and I use to that term lightly) called in and made an overture to the FMDAC, to meet and perhaps join forces (whatever that means).  Well that wasn’t exactly received with open arms, but no surprise there. Both factions kind of mumbled this and that, and no firm date was set, only that “perhaps” they could do it at the FMDAC’s newly announced event in Gettysburg. Well I have an idea….how about June of 2020?  That way you will have time to figure it all out?

Yes I know I am being overly harsh and sarcastic with my comments, but I just don’t get what is so difficult about two organizations, who continually find it hard to stay in touch with their members for months at a time, getting together?  The principals involved don’t live that far apart, and jeezus, have you not heard about Skype or any of the similar “meeting” programs out there?  Willing to bet as well that you could get a manufacturer to pay whatever fees are involved….

Early in the podcast when the FMDAC was asked about their membership numbers, the prez avoided answering, saying only that January was membership renewal time and no firm numbers were available.  Hmm, isn’t it March now?  My guess is the number would have been embarrassing.  34 clubs is a far cry from the 100 or so back in the early years.

As for apathy…..of course there’s apathy out there.  Has been for years. The detectorist is typically a “give me” guy, and asking them to contribute anything else is like pulling teeth. Then again, they’ve hardly been given anything to excite them for years.  Just maybe the FMDAC and Task Force need to think about marketing themselves.  You know, give tekkies a reason to want to belong, and to want to help.  A few suggestions….

  • Be constantly visible, via your website(not every six months
  • Participate more in social media
  • Hold regular, monthly “podcast” meetings where members can participate
  • Mail or email newsletters, bi-monthly or monthly
  • Find members in each state who are responsible and able to represent the organization where and when needed
  • Become more viable by increasing dues. $5 per year is ridiculous….individual clubs charge more
  • Stop being a social club and start acting like a professional organization
  • Reach out to those clubs not currently members and give them a reason to join

At my age I shouldn’t give a damn about any of this, but I reserve the right to have a vested interest in the FMDAC. I remember it’s infancy and all that it entailed.  I remember too all the hard-working individuals that gave so much to make it successful, and who did so without all the technological advancements available today.

I remember officers, delegates and members traveling hundred of miles to attend monthly meetings, and to represent the FMDAC, at events, city council meetings, congressional meetings in Washington, often taking time off work without remuneration.

FMDAC delegates, meeting 1987....greatest group of TH'ers ever

FMDAC delegates, monthly meeting 1987….what a great group!

I remember the FMDAC when it’s member clubs totaled over 120, and I remember when the FMDAC had the verbal, moral and financial support of every single manufacturer, and there were many.

So if you think I am overly critical of what is going on today, you would be right. There’s absolutely no excuse for the lackadaisical attitude that prevails.  Finally, to answer the emails I know I will receive…. I am not the least bit interested in getting involved in any of these groups. I have been there, done that, and I am way too old for it anymore.  I do however reserve the right to criticize them when needed.  I’ve earned that right!



Filed under Metal Detecting

24 responses to “The FMDAC’s Groundhog Day…

  1. danhughes1

    Dick, being President of a prestigious (to the general public) organization like FDMAC looks really great on a resume. Even if you do nothing.

  2. Todd Hiltz

    I listened to the relic round up and did not here anything that excited me however,one person did increase my hopes. His name was Heath Jones I believe. I know he has a good amount of experience with politicians and he seemed interested in helping out. I feel he could be a mover and shaker….lets cross our fingers.

    • I think someone mentioned that the manufacturers would gladly add their support but they are waiting to see some plan of action. Don’t think that having a hunt or social event is what they meant….

  3. Roy Rutledge

    I remember when FMDAC actually did something. That was back when you were the Head Dog so to speak. Had great promise at that time but has gone downhill since you left.

    • Kind of you to say that Roy, but I remember very good leadership after I left. Hard for me to put a date on when things started to change, but it went from being a professional organization to being a social group or clique.

  4. An organisation comprising 34 clubs as its membership base – even supposing that each of those clubs has 100 members – cannot assume the mantle of ‘national’. The tag ‘Federation’ aptly suits.

    The birth of a ‘national’ organisation requires a qualified midwife – not a collective of well-meaning amateurs with “day jobs and other obligations.” The clarion call is for paid professionals, financed by members, affiliate trade members, outlets, retailers and so on.

    Overall policy should be decided by a council whose members are not connected with the trade in any form drawn.

    I can’t believe the formation of such a body is beyond the wit of a nation that put men on the moon.

  5. You’re not overly wrong, I guarantee that MOST newer detectorists from the last 5 years or so couldn’t tell you who either of these organizations are. I’ve been in the hobby that long, and honestly I don’t know what they actually “DO” to represent us as they’ve been so low profile we can’t even see ’em!

    • And you’re not overly wrong either. I think it all hinges on whether hobbyists want representation on Capitol Hill. Indeed, legislators would like to deal with the hobby – it’s the US after all, not Communist Poland – but no credible organisation exists. The hobby in the US is a complete dog’s breakfast, and that, I find amazing.

      Will the situation improve? Sadly, not on current form.

  6. Packrat

    I was one of the earlier workers in the FMDAC. I formed the Northwest chapter in 1990, and worked to get the State Parks in Washington State to organize the rules for detecting in the parks (not perfect but better than they were). It really started to fall off the track about 2003, when some officers started working on personal agendas and were most interested in the conventions. I was chapter President at that time and fought a losing battle for a couple years. When I formed the chapter I traveled up to 700 miles one way to chapter meetings, wrote letters and mailed them every month to clubs in order to make it work. Most out of my pocket. Oh, and I worked a full time job, had a family and all the other excuses they now use. Whew, feel better now!

    • Thanks Larry. Your reputation proceeds you. I and many others are very appreciative of all you’ve done.

      • OK..yep there are a lot of nay sayers out there, a lot of wind being blow out, but how about stepping up and lending a hand to lift the weight of running a well meaning organization.
        We can all sit on our duffs, complaine, and point fingers What we need is all thoes who are really concerned to join one or both organizations, and offer to help…do something, anything !.
        I can only speak for the Task Force….we are a small group of concerned Metal Detectorists who want to help keep our, and your right to enjoy our hobby without undo restrictions.
        We are already spread thin, so join up, offer your time and skills, help us help you !
        There is no charge to join the TF…we just need you to invest some time and sweat.
        go to http://www.detecting
        you can send an e-mail to me directly at

      • Avery, understand it’s easy to sit on my duff and complain, but how do you (and Mark) explain going six months without uttering a word? Not one word….not even Merry Christmas.

        And, if people do step up, what is it that you want them to do? All they know is what they see on your website.

  7. Mike Smith

    It is sad! I really hoped things would change with Mark taking over as President last year. But the remaining officers have stayed the same for a very long time and communication has always been their problem. Maybe it’s the people (leaders), not the organization (goal) that needs changed.
    Enough said!

  8. Well, the proverbial “you just want them to fail” emails have arrived, and in response I say, not true, they are doing that job all by themselves, and would you prefer we all continue to play the pretend game?

  9. Going slightly off piste for the moment, I noted that the best place to see the eclipse was on the summit of Mt Barford, where stupidity completely blocked out rationality, manners, and veracity.

  10. High Fives All Round!

    I see Ole Barfy is extending his limited lexicon to include the word LOUT to describe Tekkies. Usually, he labels hobbyists and collectors as : ‘morons’, ‘coineys’, ‘slack-jaws’ (as in, ‘in-bred’). Presumably, LOUT being a five-letter word doesn’t over-tax him too much.

    He’s also spitting feathers over the fact that US Tekkies petitioned support for the National Trust’s ‘short tunnel’ option to protect the world heritage site of Stonehenge. Well done everyone!

    Neither is he over-pleased by the fact that so many Tekkies supported US Attorney, Peter Tompa’s campaign to protect the right to collect roman coins. Peter writes on his blog (well worth a read):-

    “CPO thanks all those collectors who again asked CPAC to help preserve their ability to collect “coins of Italian types” from bureaucratic overreach.”

    TAKE A GOOD LOOK at Barfy’s behaviour, for he is precisely the sort the CBA favors to control the archaeological heritage and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a “policy”.

    Thanks to all who took part!

  11. Tascio

    Lout being a five letter word has clearly over-taxed you too much

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